I started designing model aircraft because I liked their shapes and forms and I thought it would be a challenge to create paper airplane models that would look as ‘real’ in appearance as I could illustrate.

The decision to focus on non-military aircraft and aircraft of the 1920s and 1930’s came about for a number of reasons. Almost all of the large civilian aircraft from this period in history have vanished and most were not available in model form. As they are typically angular and lacked the compound curves of modern aircraft it makes them ideal for design and construction in paper

In the process of design at this level you learn a great deal about your subject as you have to reference archival photographs. Coming from a publishing background, I have become very interested in the nature of the registration letters and the liveries, which were applied by hand and the whole idea of the aircraft as a print item with words and letters.

Following on from that, the concept of a graphic template in a drawing program and then the ability to illustrate into a template - the new colours and registration letters of the subject - is at the heart of how vector and computer art operate. The focus, very early on, was on subjects that would best work in a template. (See Million Moths)

One of the things we wanted to do was produce the highest level of illustration possible on the aircraft. There are a lot of designs that are inaccurate and illustrated in heavy black lines. We experimented a great deal with different ways of illustrating stitches and the texture of fabric and in some instances what’s depicted is barely visible.

Having illustrated well over a 100 different aircraft models and co-designed well over 80 to date, you learn a great deal about the history of aviation in this period. The first airliners have a wonderful aesthetic about them. In design terms what is so interesting is the different shapes and configurations were being investigated to create the ideal passenger aircraft. Compared to the homogenous shapes of today, the diversity of forms remain exotic, romantically and indelibly linked with our idea of what the art deco era was all about.